Encounter Youth are proud to announce a new partnership with Variety SA, receiving a $150,000 grant over 3 years to help alcohol and other drug (AOD) education be more accessible to regional and disadvantaged school communities in SA.
“Although drug use amongst young people in Australia is declining, students in regional communities tend to have a higher rate of alcohol and other drug use than their metropolitan peers,” said Encounter Youth’s Education Manager, Dr Andrew Scholefield.
Encounter Youth, the not-for-profit charity, are South Australia’s largest provider of AOD education to high school students, seeing 20,000 students and parents in 2017.
“Whilst there is a need in all schools for AOD education, regional schools often face additional barriers given the extra resources required to deliver programs on site,” Dr Scholefield said.
This grant from Variety’s Sprout Fund enables Encounter Youth to offer their program to regional schools in SA without the usual travel fee for the next 3 years.
“Variety -the children’s charity is delighted to provide funding to ensure our state’s priceless youth all receive this AOD education, regardless of their socio economic background or location,” said Variety SA CEO Mark McGill.
“One of Variety’s great aspirations is that all children have the chance to achieve their potential and this program is another positive step in that direction,” he added.
In addition, Encounter Youth will subsidise the cost of their AOD program for disadvantaged schools for the next 3 years to encourage more schools to book their program across multiple year levels.
“We believe that schools applying a holistic approach to AOD education is contributing to the increase in young people making positive choices around alcohol consumption, with the age of initiation increasing to 16.3 years of age in 2016, compared to 15.7 years in 2013,” Dr Scholefield said.
This week, the Year 9-12 students from Port Broughton Area School are among the first to benefit from Encounter Youth’s new partnership.
“This program provides a great opportunity for our students to learn from experts in the AOD field and helps set expectations around positive behaviour, parties and alcohol for the year ahead,” said Peter Button, Pastoral Care Worker at Port Broughton Area School.
By the end of 2020, through the support of Variety SA, an additional 30,000 students, 400 parents and 400 teachers will receive AOD education from Encounter Youth.